It's a few years since I last fished there, before the dreadful flash floods and land slides in '99 that devastated the tourist area of Carabella. But one of our Club members did fish there in May 2008. He caught a number of sub 300lb Blue Marlin and one decent sized Yellowfin.
So, October. Although the Blues will be around you'll probably encounter more White Marlin and Sailfish on the Bank. Lots of them! Odd Spearfish can also show up and, further west towards the airport, they will also deep drop for Broadbill Swordfish. That's cranking up fish though from a 1000' down!
Yellowfin Tuna can also show, but the runs are much less predictable than they used to be. Also, if prompted, the crews will also drop down on the Bank the last baits of the day for Amberjack.
Other things do also show up and I remember the last time I was there I had a HUGE, really BIG Mako Shark, literally shred all of one side of a 400lb plus Blue Marlin I was playing. Back on shore the crewman estimated the Shark that they'd initially seen within touching distance alongside the boat at five paces long. We think that was a slight exaggeration but my friend who tried to video it - unfortunately the camera's automatic focus was focussing on the water's surface so all you could see was an indistinct shadow - was convinced it was well over 1000lbs on weight.
Virtually all the fishing will be with 30 and 50lb trolling gear using either dead (more common) or small livebaits. They will however use high speed lures if they spot shoals of YFT.
You'll find as well as the local boats - older Bertrams and Hatteras in the main - there'll be a number of visiting American boats down there. Chavez hasn't deterred all of them! The local boats are considerably cheaper to charter. I also remember that some of my friends hired a small boat and trolled inshore, catching Wahoo and Jacks.
If you find you have a spare day it's well worth doing the trip to Los Roques, an archipelago about 70 miles offshore. You fly out from the International airport. There, and it's something you'll be able to arrange locally, you can wade fish for Bonefish using spin or fly gear.
Also on the mainland, but further west, there's a spot where you can fish for juvenile Tarpon. And around Carabella itself there are places where you can target Snook. Just be careful though if you're thinking of fishing by yourself at night - mugging of tourists, off the beaten track, used to be rife.
Yup, it was an amazing creature. The crew tried tossing small Tuna deadbaits at it to attract its attention but it sensed the Marlin that I’d only just hooked, and rocketed after it. Although the Marlin accelerated away and tried to jump it only got its head and shoulders out of the water as the Mako struck ripping the flesh on all of one side to shreds.
I’d seen that abortive jump and heard lots of yelling in Spanish, and the fish – patently mortally wounded, although I wasn’t aware of it at the time – came in very easily. They got the flying gaffs out, and there’s me shouting “No, release!”. Dragging it aboard they could see I was very angry so one touched his eye and turned the fish over. The flesh was just hanging off in shards but, from where the teeth had ripped through it, you could visualise the impressive bite radius. It was big!
But still the only strike I’ve ever seen like that. Very occasionally we’ve had Makos attack BigEye Tuna, but it’s always the tail that they chew into attempting to sever the backbone and initially disable it. That’s also their modus operandi with Broadbill, where they’re trying to avoid the bill.
I have to say though the only Makos I’ve had, from the Azores, have taken lures. Their runs are incredibly fast and if they jump they come a lot higher out of the water than any billfish, and I’ve seen them somersault.
Years and years ago – and following that we spent a number of weekends targeting them off the Manacles (Falmouth) without success – a friend of mine fishing for Blue Sharks hooked a big one, he and the skipper were convinced it was around 600lbs. That one came in very easily – too easily - and, with the swivel at the rod top, the skipper just wouldn’t take the leader. The next time round, and resorting to ingenuity, Ric got one of his mates to throw the flying gaff head over its back, trying to snag it. Well it must have pricked the dorsal and it just shot out of the water. The gaff came rocketing back, hit the skipper and cannoned off striking his ‘soon to be’ wife above the eye. That required several stitches.
Anyway it shot off and broke the light trace.
What do the Aussies describe them as ‘blue dynamite with a short fuse’? Um … that just about sums them up.
well just got back so thought i'd let you know whats what,
fished for 5 days with capt. jimmy grant(a real top man, and his crew were exellent) had 13 billfish in total,
1 sailfish all the rest were white marlin( a few of the other lads had a couple of blues) average weight was 60lb, all on 20lb stand up,
had a few dorado too.
so all in all,,,a bloody good trip, i'll try and post some pics when i figure out how to do it
bye for now